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Sheryl Petrashek's Blog

By Sheryl Petrashek | Agent in Apple Valley, MN

We want to move in 6 months, when should we start looking for a home?

Today I met with a fantastic young couple preparing to buy their first home. Our discussion touched on the time needed to complete the purchase. Initially they were worried about starting the process too soon, concerned they might find a home they loved early in the looking process and not be able to purchase it because they need to finish paying their lease. We outlined the most likely scenarios, it turns out their timing will be nearly perfect.

If you are in a lease for the next 6 months and wish to make a smooth transition to your new home, you should begin the process now to ensure you have time to select just the right house!

During the First Month, spend time talking to friends and family, asking for referrals to Mortgage Officers, Inspectors and Realtors whom they recommend. Get several names and do some research to see which people are right for you. Gather the documention needed for mortgage application. Also, start searching online for homes in your price range. Drive by homes which catch your interest, this is a great way to explore neighborhoods and commute routes which you may not have noticed previously. Be open minded this month and explore a variety of places, you might discover awesome opportunities.

During the Second Month, meet with your selected professionals and begin the organized searching phase. Expect your Realtor to set you up with a detailed search coming straight from our MLS system, this will provide you with the best data possible. Schedule a time to meet with your mortgage officer to go over the details and turn in your documents. Once your mortgage process in underway, you should be out looking at homes. I recommned we see quite a few homes in our first two outings. It’s important to see 4-6 homes altogether during the first few times out looking. These long sessions provide an accurate view of home values in the shortest time, and allow me to really understand what you are looking for in a home.

During the Third Month, we are usually ready to make offers at this time. There are many multiple offers out there, especially on the rock bottom priced bank owned foreclosures. You might be surprised to see how tough it can be to secure one of those desired deals. Once an offer is accepted, your inspection contingency and appraisal contingency can take 2-3 weeks to complete.

During the Fourth Month, some buyers are still searching and need this extra month to find the right property, especially if their needs are very specific or their search area is very small. If you are having enormous difficulty finding a property this is the perfect time to modify your search criteria. Expand your geographic area, decrease your expectations, increase your price range or do all three, just slightly. If you have been looking for two months and haven’t found a few homes to get excited about, you are probably looking for a needle in a haystack.

During the Fifth Month, you will be preparing for closing. Your mortgage officer often requests several follow up documents at this time. It’s important to respond quickly and provide all document they request, underwriters review everything more closely now than a few years ago. You will also work closely with your Realtor and title company representative on the closing procedures. For more information you can read 5 things you should know to prepare for closing.

During the Sixth Month, you will be packing and arranging your move!

There is plenty of wiggle room in this timeline and you certainly can search for a home, purchase, close and move in less than 6 months. I often see buyers who waited too long to begin the process and wish they had given themselves more time. It can be stressful to buy a home, especially your first home, the last thing you need is to feel pressured and hurried.

Incidentally, we begin our search this weekend and my clients are looking to buy a single family home in Farmington, Apple Valley or Rosemount. If you are planning to sell this Spring and believe your home will appeal to First Time Homebuyers, give me a call, it might be an ideal match. Their minimum requirements include 3 beds/2 baths/2 car garage and they would appreciate a fenced yard too. 612-889-6496

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